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Sunday, September 27, 2020

“Praise the Lord, O My Soul!” Celebration Sunday 2020 [Matt's Messages]

“Praise the Lord, O My Soul!”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
September 27, 2020 :: Psalm 103
Celebration Sunday

This Fall, we have been focusing on “fortifying truth” from the Psalms, the holy songbook in the center of our Bibles.

The Psalms are beloved songs that poetically and powerfully remind us just how great our God really is and how strengthening that is for our daily lives in this tumultuous time.

And Psalm 103 is full of fortifying truth. We’ve just sung it. Now, let’s look at it more closely.

Psalm 103, verse 1.

“Of David. Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.”

That’s theme of the psalm, and the theme of our Celebration today, and I hope it’s theme of our lives.
“Praise the LORD, O my soul!”




Now, the first thing I want you to notice is that King David is talking to himself.

I think a lot of people in Lanse believe that I talk to myself.

Because I have this little bluetooth earpiece that I stick in my ear, and I walk around Lanse talking to people on my phone. Talking to my Dad, my daughter, and many many of you.

My phone tells me that I’ve walked 1,343 miles in the last 6 months since COVID-19 began. I’ve been averaging about 7 miles a day. Yesterday, I walked 12.

And while I walk, I talk.

But I don’t just talk on the phone.

I talk to God. I pray and walk and walk and pray.

But there is someone else that I talk to just as much, not always out loud.

And that someone is myself.

We are always talking to ourselves, aren’t we?

The question is not will we talk to ourselves, but what are we saying to ourselves?

And King David was saying to himself, “Praise the LORD, O my soul.”

David was talking to the deepest part of himself, “...all my inmost being, praise his holy name.”


David is trying to get his soul in gear.

My son Peter owns a 2009 Suzuki RM-Z250. He’s really proud of that bike.

And do you know how it starts? 

It isn’t a pull cord.
And it isn’t a button. 
And it isn’t a key start.

How does it start? It’s kickstart.

And sometimes, it takes more than one kick to get it going. And what do you know Peter is saying inside himself as he kicks? What every kickstart says, right?

“Come on. Come on. Come on.”

And then it roars to life, and he’s off and running.

Well, verse 1 is David kickstarting his own soul.

“Come on, soul. Come on, soul. Let’s go, soul. Get it going. Get your praise on.”

It’s like that first cup of coffee in the morning to get you moving.

It’s like that pep talk that Todd gives to his football team at half-time before they go back out in the game.

“Come on. Let’s go!”

David talks to himself.

And what he tells himself is to praise the LORD.

We need to remind ourselves to praise the LORD.

That’s capital L-O-R-D. Which we remember stands for the Hebrew name of God, “Yahweh.” The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God of Moses and the burning bush. The God we’ve been learning about the last four weeks in Psalm 8, Psalm 90, Psalm 93, and Psalm 23.

David tells his soul to praise Yahweh. Praise the LORD.

And, of course, as he does that it invites us to follow his example and do it, too.

The whole rest of the Psalm is King David telling himself WHY and HOW to praise the LORD.

And I want to move through it in 3 steps. Here’s number one.

#1. DON’T FORGET WHAT HE HAS DONE. Look at verse 2.

He says it again. “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–” 

Don’t forget the LORD’s benefits.

And he doesn’t mean God’s 401K.

He means God’s blessings.

He means don’t forget everything that the Lord has done and is doing for you.

Don’t lose track of God’s work in your life.

Remember.

That’s why we have things like Celebration Sunday, right? Where we look back over 128 years of God’s faithfulness and we REMEMBER.

Remember what God has done.

And David starts to list them to himself. Remember, the “your” here is David talking to David. It’s not us. It’s David. V.3

“...forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins [David] and heals all your diseases [David], who redeems your life from the pit [David] and crowns you with love and compassion [David], who satisfies your desires with good things [David] so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.”

Remember what God has done for you, David, says David.

“Nobody else forgave your sins. Remember Bathsheba and Uriah?

Nobody else has healed your diseases. Remember how sick you were in Psalm 41?

Nobody else saved you from the lion and the bear and Goliath and the Philistines and Saul and Absalom. 

Nobody else has given you the strength to bounce back again and again throughout your life so that you are still ruling with unflagging strength like a eagle that just doesn’t stop flying up there in the sky.

Who has made you like the Energize Bunny, David?”

Remember who did that!

Remember what Yahweh has done, and praise Him.

A few weeks ago, you sent me your prayer requests for my Pastoral Prayer Retreat, and you all included praises at the top of each one. Things I could celebrate with you, praising God for the blessings He’s poured out on your life.

I was so encouraged as I read them. 

Here are some of them (anonymously, of course):

“I am praising God for caring loving families; my own and LEFC family! God is so great and good!”

“We are very thankful for our health these last months as well as our job security. We are also very thankful of the time we have spent together as a family and even though COVID has changed everyone’s lives, in our home we have learned to ‘slow down’ and really enjoy each other more as well as the simple joys God provides all around us.”

“We praise God for spiritual growth. I have really noticed growth in my husband during this time.”

“I am so blessed I can’t name it all for the Lord is good and his mercy endures forever. Praise God!”

You guys sound like the Psalms!

We need to keep doing that. Every morning. Every day.

Praise the LORD. Don’t forget what He has done.

And not just for you and me, but for ALL of His people. V.6

“The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”

That’s good news, isn’t it? Sometimes His work at this seems slow to us. When people are oppressed and justice is denied.

But the David knows that the Lord is always working righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

And one day His work will be complete and obvious and full. V.7

“He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel...”

David invokes the Exodus here. God’s rescue of His people and His revelation of Himself.

Don’t forget what the Lord has done!

He has saved you, Israel!

And how much more can we say that today on this side of the Cross?

He has saved you, Church!

Praise the Lord.

#2. DON’T MISS WHO HE IS.

Don’t forget what He has done, and even more fundamental, don’t forget who He is. V.8

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”

Do those words sound familiar to you?

I hope so. They reverberate throughout the Old Testament. They show up again and again and again.


Remember that? And God said, “You couldn’t handle it. You couldn’t see my glory and live. But I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll hide you in this cleft in this rock, and I’ll pass by and I’ll let you get a glimpse of the afterglow of my back,” whatever that means.

Like just an echo of the sound of his glory, just a dim reflection of his glory.

And then the LORD passed by Moses and said, (Exodus 34:6) “The LORD, the LORD, [Yahweh, Yahweh] the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness...”

David knows Who God is because He told His people Who He is.

This is a description of the heart of God for His people.

Don’t miss this.

Verse 8 is a description of the heart of God for His people.

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”

How slow to anger? V.9

“He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; [He is so patient with sinners. V.10] he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”

David would know.

And then David gives three illustrations, three similes to get at just how compassionate and gracious the LORD is. V.11

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;”

Look up at the sky. Can you see those clouds? Can you see the moon? Can you see the stars?

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;”

How high could David go?

The heavens were unreachable to him. He could stand on a mountain, and that’s it.

This is immeasurably great love!

And it comes out in immeasurable grace. V.12

“...as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Look over there to East. When does the East touch the West?

It never does, right?

“...as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

How did He do that?

How did He do that and stay holy?

Remember, verse 1 said that His name is holy.

Verse 6 says that He works righteousness and justice.

How does He stay righteous and offer this kind of grace?

We know, don’t we?

We know what it took, and we’re going to celebrate it at the Lord’s Table today.

Don’t miss who God is. How gracious and compassionate He is. V.13.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;” 

Just like Abe feels about little Spurgeon, that’s a little picture of how God feels about us!

Don’t miss Who God is because He certainly hasn’t missed who you are. V.14

“for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”


“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”

We are only here for a little time. 

In another 128 years none of us will be here.

And we need to remember that. “Teach us to number our days aright so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Counting our days, so that we make every day count.”

We are just dust or grass. That’s who we are. But we are not forgotten because of Who God is. V.17

“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children–with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”

That’s Who God is!

God is eternal!

And God is eternally compassionate!

And eternally gracious to His covenant people.

From generation to generation to generation.

From everlasting to everlasting.

His love is with us. Like we saw last week in Psalm 23. Steadfast love chasing David, chasing David all of his life and into eternity.

That’s WHO God is. Don’t miss it!

And on top of all of that. God is the sovereign ruler of all. V.19

“The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.”


“The LORD reigns!”

And that throne will not budge.

Nothing happening in this world will move His throne even one inch. 

Because He is sovereign.

“His kingdom rules over all.”

And so we should praise Him. Number three.

#3. DON’T FAIL TO PRAISE HIM.

Talk to yourself. Talk to your soul.

Kickstart your soul.

“Come on, soul!
Come on.
Let’s go.

Praise the LORD.”

In fact, everybody ought to praise the Lord. From the least to the greatest.

All the way up to the angels. Verse 20.

“Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. [And then it just grows and grows into a crescendo the end of the song. V.21] Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts [heavenly armies], you his servants who do his will. Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.”

Don’t fail to praise Him.

“Praise the LORD, O my soul!”


***

Fortifying Truth - Fall 2020

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23

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